VA Casino in Richmond, NJ State College Betting Measures Fail
It was a mixed bag for gambling initiatives on ballots Tuesday, but the two biggest issues went down to defeat.
New Jersey voters were asked to approve betting on in-state college teams and on college events held in the state. The question before voters:
Do you approve amending the Constitution to permit wagering through casinos and current or former horse racetracks on all college sport or athletic events that are held in the State?
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It was soundly defeated, with 1,087,256 (56.8%) voting no and 825,707 (43.2%) voting yes with about 97% of the precincts reporting as of early Wednesday. Sports betting has been legal in New Jersey since 2018 and bets can be placed on college sports teams not in New Jersey and events held outside the state.
On a brighter note, voters in New Jersey approved a constitutional amendment that allows certain organizations to support themselves with proceeds from bingo, raffles or other games of chance.
In Virginia, a proposal to build a casino in Richmond was defeated by voters. With 51 of 52 precincts in Richmond reporting, 39,834 (51.4%) voted against it, while 37,399 (48.6%) voted yes, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. The planned casino was expected to open in October 2024. One casino can be built in Richmond under the current law.
Richmond was one of five cities allowed to have casinos under Virginia gaming law. Residents in four other cities — Bristol, Danville, Norfolk and Portsmouth — voted last November to allow casinos. Those cities started laying the groundwork in 2019 that casino gambling would be legalized in 2020.
Initiatives Pass in Iowa, New Hampshire
Two other jurisdictions saw voters approve gambling initiatives on Tuesday.
Voters in Nashua, New Hampshire, gave their approval to a DraftKings Sportsbook in the city. There are currently three cities in the state with DraftKings retail sportsbooks — Seabrook, Manchester and Dover. The most-recent one opened in Dover in October.
DraftKings is the only sportsbook operator in New Hampshire after launching in December 2019. The New Hampshire Lottery receives 50% of revenue from sports betting. It was a model that New York sought to copy when it was considering online sports betting.
In September, New Hampshire set a state record with $68.1 million in total sports betting handle.
In Iowa, voters in Linn County — where Cedar Rapids is located — allowed the county to consider adding a casino. The 55%-45% approval permits officials to put together a plan for a casino and send it to the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission. The commission has rejected Linn County casino proposals in the past, however.